Brazil beat Serbia to book date with Mexico in round of 16
28 June, 2018, 05:47 | Author: Elena Meyer
Brazil qualified for the knockout stage as Group E winners with a 2-0 victory over Serbia in Moscow on Wednesday night.
Tite replaced Paulinho with Fernandinho as he sought greater stability, but it was Silva, capitalising on shoddy marking from Nemanja Matic, heading home at the near post from Neymar's left-wing corner two minutes later that truly gave him that.
If they were entertaining, the PSG man with a coloured hair was at his usual best teasing the Serbian defence with his skill and pace on the left but wasted too many great opportunities in the end.
It was not his greatest performance, nor Brazil's, but it was more than enough and they march on and remain the team everyone else will want to avoid.
Neymar has huge pressure on his shoulders to deliver despite only returning from injury in the run-up to the World Cup.
Brazil initially looked as if they would flatter to deceive again, with Neymar in particular appearing easy on the eye but with a distinct lack of cutting edge.
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Serbia enjoyed their best chance of the match four minutes later - Alisson touching a unsafe cross from the right straight toward Aleksandar Mitrovic whose diving header was saved off the line by a defender before deflecting back into the goalkeeper's hands.
But the Brazilians broke the deadlock moments later and Philippe Coutinho was at the heart of the move as he picked out the run of Paulinho with a delightful pass over the top, and the midfielder lifted the ball over Stojkovic from 16 yards out to score.
The victory, which eliminates Serbia, means Brazil will face Mexico in the round of 16 on Monday in Samara.
Mitrovic was presented with a golden opportunity to equalise four minutes later after Alisson punched a cross from the right straight at the striker, whose header came back off Silva and rebounded into the keeper's arms.
Mitrovic's shot had gone behind Alisson and was heading toward goal, but Silva got there in time to clear it away.
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